Being a full-time freelance graphic designer can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it's not without its stressors. As you probably know, one of the most common concerns among freelance graphic designers is simple: just how do you find a gig? Although finding clients and gigs may be a stressful part of freelancing, fortunately, it's far from impossible. Read on to learn a few useful tips that can help you land a great job as a freelance graphic designer — and keep lining up jobs in the future.
Put Your Best Self Forward
Before you start searching for new jobs and potential clients, make sure that you have a killer website that shows off your portfolio. A good portfolio should include examples of past work that you've done, as well as your work experience and credentials. Be sure to include any special skills you have or any unique experience that might make you desirable to potential clients looking to work with freelancers. Anyone who visits your website should come away with a sense of who you are, the type of work you're qualified to do, and a sense of your aesthetic vision.
Perhaps most importantly, don't forget to include clear and easily accessible contact information on your website. No matter how beautiful your work is or how perfect a fit you'd be for a given client, it'll never come to fruition if your potential client has to spend hours searching for your email address or phone number on your website. Including a page of clearly visible contact information on your website will help your potential clients get in touch with you as quickly and easily as possible.
Check Out Freelance Websites
Freelance websites and job boards are great places to search for gigs. Job boards allow clients to post gigs on which freelancers can then bid (by submitting a project proposal along with their fee), and some also allow clients to connect directly with freelancers by giving freelancers a space to show off their portfolios. If you're new to the world of freelance graphic design, freelance websites and job boards can be an easy place to start your job search.
However, it's best to approach job boards with caution. While freelance job boards can be good places to start looking for potential clients, many websites can hurt freelancers by taking a cut of their accepted fee (in many cases, between 10 and 20 percent). Additionally, because many job boards rely on forcing freelancers to compete for gigs by bidding on projects, it's possible (and extremely common) for freelancers to undercut each other by offering to do the same work for increasingly less money. Although spending some time on job boards may be a necessary evil in the world of freelance graphic design, they can have a strong impact on your future earnings and make it more difficult for you to achieve financial stability as a freelancer.
Build A Strong Network
When you're looking for a leg up in the freelance world, who better to help you out than a fellow freelancer? Networking can have a ton of benefits that might not be obvious to you at first. Not only can a group of like-minded colleagues help you out with logistical concerns, such as figuring out where to look for jobs and how to craft an impressive portfolio, but surrounding yourself with people who are familiar with your work can increase the chances that they'll recommend you for future jobs. That doesn't just apply to other graphic designers — making connections with writers, coders, or other freelancers can definitely come in handy if they're ever asked to recommend someone who is great at graphic design.
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Joining professional groups, such as those on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, is also a great way to make connections with colleagues who can help you land freelance jobs. Surrounding yourself with strong, knowledgeable freelancers is a great way to learn more about the ins and outs of the field, as well as to learn more about specific skills you may want to develop to help you look desirable to potential clients.
Stay Active On Social Media
Social media is a great way to see and be seen — and it's also a great way to land a great graphic design gig. For starters, your social media presence is a continuation of your personal brand. Don't be afraid to use your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts to build a loyal fan base and show off your skills. By updating your profiles with new art every day — and occasionally adding some personal details or graphic design tips that can help your followers get to know you — you can show the world who you are and what kind of art you can create. Even better? Social media is a great place to add to your professional network by interacting with fellow designers as well as potential clients.
In addition to being a great place for promoting yourself and making connections, social media is also a great way to keep an eye on what's happening around you, as well as in the field of graphic design. Are past clients of yours looking for someone to help them embark on a rebranding effort? Reach out to them early and offer to help them with their project. Are you keeping an eye on the latest big trends in graphic design? Knowing what's hot and what's not can impress potential clients further down the road when you're helping them with a trendy new design. Social media can certainly be a powerful tool for furthering your personal brand and landing freelance graphic design jobs.
Landing Freelance Graphic Design Jobs Is Possible
Beginning a career as a freelance graphic designer can certainly feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are ways to land great graphic design jobs that can help keep you financially stable and continue to expand your presence in your field. By designing a great portfolio, creating a strong professional network, and connecting with colleagues and potential clients on social media and job boards, you can increase your chances of generating leads and finding great job opportunities. No matter how long you've been a freelance graphic designer, these tips can help you bring your career to where you want it to go. And for help in creating a contract once you do find that client, check out our article on how to create a retainer contract.